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Promises Made: Energy dependence

Obama’s words: President BarackObama promised in January 2008 that he would be “a president who harnesses the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all.”

The issue: Obama pledged during the campaign to “invest $150 billion over the next ten years in alternative sources of energy like wind power, and solar power, and advanced bio-fuels, investments that will create up to five million new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.” Until August 2008, Obama opposed additional offshore oil drilling, arguing that it would take at least five years for more drilling to lead to lower gasoline prices. But in a significant change of position, Obama said on Aug. 1, 2008 that he would be willing to support limited additional offshore drilling. Obama said he’d make this compromise if it were necessary to get enough votes in Congress to pass a comprehensive plan to encourage fuel-efficient vehicles and develop alternative energy sources.

Following through:  In his inaugural address Obama promised to “harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories,” an indicator of his interest in solar, wind and biofuel power. In the $825 billion stimulus bill currently being considered by the House of Representatives, about $50 billion is allocated for subsidies for energy companies and research on alternative energy sources. Obama is almost certain to sign some version of this stimulus bill.